Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Nepal

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PIC - Google/SCMP

Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Nepal after his second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mamallapuram near Chennai, India.

Recently, Nepal hosted Foreign Minister Wang Yi and discussed about presidential visit with officials . A Chinese plane also landed at Nepal’s airport for a test flight for the upcoming visit. Chinese president is going to visit Nepal in 23 years.  Jiang Zemin had visited Nepal in 1996.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is already regarded as the most powerful leader of China, the country that has an extraordinary economic development, and technological innovation, a prominent position in the world. China is world’s second class economy. Many are still struggling to understand the President Xi, an enigmatic ruler of world. He is also regarded as the China’s most powerful leader since Mao.  He is also considered as the most powerful leader of China after Mao Zedong.

Still many are grappling with mystery man called Xi. Some who have met Xi describe him as an affable, inquisitive man according to the Guardian. Others paint a portrait of a ruthless and calculating strongman who has more in common with Russian president Vladimir Putin than Tom Hanks. The Guardian further writes – “He is feared more than he is admired,” said Willy Lam, the author of a book called Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping: Renaissance, Reform, or Retrogression?

For many in Nepal also, Xi is a mystery man. The Guardian writes- Schell said he believed the Communist party leader had modelled himself on Han Feizi, a philosopher known as China’s Machiavelli whose basic maxim was: “Keep it mysterious – don’t be transparent.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit comes at a time when the contest between the US’s Indo-Pacific Strategy and Chinas’ Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is  rolling out in Nepal. The U.S Department of Defense published the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report (IPSR) 2019 in June. It writes ‘ “Within South Asia, we are working to operationalize our Major Defense Partnership with India, while pursuing emerging partnerships with Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh, and Nepal. The United States seeks to expand our defense relationship with Nepal, focused on HA/DR, peacekeeping operations, defense professionalization, ground force capacity and counter-terrorism.’ Nepali officials have already cleared that Nepal wouldn’t join any alliance that is targeted at China. Many say that this strategy of U.S is a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Nepal should be clear that any big countries like US, China or India have their own interests. They want to increase their influence in Nepal. Depending on any of these countries heavily can’t be beneficial. Nepal should maintain balance relation with them. Nepal should clearly carve out it’s policy and be committed on that.

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